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Russian & Former Soviet Union

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Results: 1 – 6 of 6
  1. 28.7 hrs • 5/3/2016 • Unabridged

    The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world’s greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, with a global cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries, and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy and Pushkin, to Bismarck, Lincoln, Queen Victoria, and Lenin. To rule Russia was both an imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice: six of the last twelve tsars were murdered. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death while making Russia an empire, and dominated his court with a dining club notable for compulsory drunkenness, naked dwarfs, and fancy dress. Catherine the Great overthrew her own husband (who was murdered soon afterward), enjoyed affairs with a series of young male favorites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul I was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who in turn faced Napoleon’s invasion and the burning of Moscow, then went on to take Paris. Alexander II liberated the serfs, survived five assassination attempts and wrote perhaps the most explicit love letters ever composed by a ruler. The Romanovs climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas II and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution—and the harrowing massacre of the entire family. Dazzlingly entertaining and beautifully written from start to finish, The Romanovs brings these monarchs—male and female, great and flawed, their families and courts—blazingly to life. Drawing on new archival research, Montefiore delivers an enthralling epic of triumph and tragedy, love and murder, encompassing the seminal years 1812, 1914, and 1917, that is both a universal study of power and a portrait of empire that helps define Russia today.

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    The Romanovs

    Read by Simon Russell Beale
    28.7 hrs • 5/3/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    11.9 hrs • 7/7/2015 • Unabridged

    From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Dead Hand comes the riveting story of the CIA’s most valuable spy in the Soviet Union and an evocative portrait of the agency’s Moscow station, an outpost of daring espionage in the last years of the Cold War. While getting into his car on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station was handed an envelope by an unknown Russian. Its contents stunned the Americans: details of top-secret Soviet research and development in military technology that was totally unknown to the United States. From 1979 to 1985, Adolf Tolkachev, an engineer at a military research center, cracked open the secret Soviet military research establishment, using his access to hand over tens of thousands of pages of material about the latest advances in aviation technology, alerting the Americans to possible developments years in the future. He was one of the most productive and valuable spies ever to work for the United States in the four decades of global confrontation with the Soviet Union. Drawing on previously secret documents obtained from the CIA, as well as interviews with participants, Hoffman reveals how the depredations of the Soviet state motivated one man to master the craft of spying against his own nation until he was betrayed to the KGB by a disgruntled former CIA trainee. No one has ever told this story before in such detail, and Hoffman’s deep knowledge of spycraft, the Cold War, and military technology makes him uniquely qualified to bring readers this real-life espionage thriller.

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    The Billion Dollar Spy

    11.9 hrs • 7/7/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 14.4 hrs • 9/30/2014 • Unabridged

    The raging question in the world today is, “who is the real Vladimir Putin and what are his intentions?” Karen Dawisha’s brilliant Putin’s Kleptocracy provides an answer, describing how Putin got to power, the cabal he brought with him, the billions they have looted, and his plan to restore the Greater Russia. Russian scholar Dawisha describes and exposes the origins of Putin’s kleptocratic regime. She presents extensive new evidence about the Putin circle’s use of public positions for personal gain even before Putin became president in 2000. She documents the establishment of Bank Rossiya, now sanctioned by the United States; the rise of the Ozero cooperative, founded by Putin and others who are now subject to visa bans and asset freezes; the links between Putin, Petromed, and “Putin’s Palace” near Sochi; and the role of security officials from Putin’s KGB days in Leningrad and Dresden, many of whom have maintained their contacts with Russian organized crime. Putin’s Kleptocracy is the result of years of research into the KGB and the various thriving Russian crime syndicates. Dawisha’s sources include Stasi archives, Russian insiders, investigative journalists in the United States, Britain, Germany, Finland, France, and Italy, and Western officials who served in Moscow. Russian journalists wrote part of this story when the Russian media was still free. “Many of them died for this story, and their work has largely been scrubbed from the Internet, and even from Russian libraries,” Dawisha says. “But some of that work remains.”

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    Putin’s Kleptocracy

    14.4 hrs • 9/30/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 7.9 hrs • 1/8/2014 • Unabridged

    The heroic story of Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a “punk prayer” beseeching the “Mother of God” to “get rid of Putin.” They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth. Masha Gessen’s riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph.

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    Words Will Break Cement by Masha Gessen

    Words Will Break Cement

    7.9 hrs • 1/8/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 15.2 hrs • 12/11/2012 • Unabridged

    1981. Ronald Reagan and François Mitterrand are sworn in as presidents of the Unites States and France, respectively. The tension due to Mitterrand’s French Communist support, however, is immediately defused when he gives Reagan the Farewell Dossier, a file he would later call “one of the greatest spy cases of the twentieth century.” Vladimir Ippolitovitch Vetrov, a promising technical student, joins the KGB to work as a spy. Following a couple of murky incidents, however, Vetrov is removed from the field and placed at a desk as an analyst. Soon, burdened by a troubled marriage and frustrated at a flailing career, Vetrov turns to alcohol. Desperate and needing redemption, he offers his services to the DST. Thus Agent Farewell is born. He uses his post within the KGB to steal and photocopy files of the USSR’s plans for the West, all under Brezhnev’s nose. Probing further into Vetrov’s psychological profile than ever before, Kostin and Raynaud provide groundbreaking insight into the man whose life helped hasten the fall of the Communist Soviet Regime.

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    Farewell

    Translated by Catherine Cauvin-Higgins
    Read by Arthur Morey
    15.2 hrs • 12/11/12 • Unabridged
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  6. 13.9 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    In this dramatic meditation on the life of Ronald Reagan, historian Paul Kengor presents an account of the fortieth president that has never been written—one that details Reagan’s campaign against the Soviet Union, which lasted more than forty years. Utilizing reams of recently declassified documents, Kengor assembles a striking mosaic of Reagan’s words and actions that toppled the Soviet Union—from his covert support of the rebels who defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan to his secret oil collusion with Saudi Arabia that devastated the Soviet economy. With unparalleled research, this fascinating book tells the story of how one president did more to bring down the Soviet Union than any other single administration in this history of the Cold War. It’s a story of how one American’s fight ended the twentieth century’s longest war. It’s a story of one man who changed history. It’s the story of a crusader. 

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    The Crusader

    13.9 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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